July 17: Buzz Bissinger vs. Nick Foles

Noted Philly writer and lover of himself Buzz Bissinger wrote the cover story in this month's Philadelphia Magazine about Nick Foles.

What did we learn? Two words: not much. 

It's Buzz's unique opinion that Foles lacks the swagger to be a Super Bowl-winning quarterback, and that he'd do better with a shot of whiskey and an Instagram account filled with photos from a strip club than, you know, being Nick Foles: 

Particularly since Foles is the New Face of Philadelphia Sports in a sports-mad town, the newest promise to the Promised Land in the post-Donovan McNabb era. Is he capable of leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl one day? Was the 2013 season aberrant? How will he handle the pressure? Fans need to try to figure out what ticks inside him to remotely know any of the answers.

Instead, what has emerged is a one-dimensional choirboy caricature reflective of a player and a team and a league terrified of individuality. Foles is selling himself, and being sold by the born-again Eagles, as the anti-DeSean: contrite, non-charismatic, cautious, churchgoing, Caucasian. The perfect poster boy for Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and commissioner Roger Goodell’s vision of a new NFL theme park where players have no discernible personality and the Twitter account is laced with Glories to God.

You don't need to read too far down into this profile to realize what it is. Bissinger was salivating for a story, got denied an interview with the Eagles quarterback, then spent the next few dozens of paragraphs reminding you he wrote Friday Night Lights and painting Foles as a boring "chickenshit."

It was Bissinger's reliance on the public's appetite for vitriol that fueled the article. All you really needed to know was that he couldn't interview his subject; from that point forward, he tries to stir up some sort of scandal with no substance - so Nick Foles doesn't drink a lot, he talks about his team, he concentrates on football. So what?

The NFL could use a few more players whose biggest problem is that they care too much about football. What it could also use is fewer Buzz Bissingers, thinking their assignment to profile an NFL quarterback is the chance for them to blow the roof off a scandal, realizing that there is no scandal to report, and blowing off the roof anyway, only to reveal Nick Foles, quietly reading a book.

Bissinger's patronizing article, written in the style of an outdated high school bully archetype, proved nothing to us but what we already assumed about a guy who had a great year. And if some day, Foles is at the center of some horrible public spectacle, then hopefully a better writer will get to cover it.

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